According to a November 2012 report released by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, deaths and injuries relating to tip-over incidents in 2011 were the highest ever as recorded by the CPSC. The group is urging parents with children of all ages to take precautions and secure their homes, but in order to do so effectively, it helps to know a little more information about tip-over injuries and deaths: how, where, and why they occur, and various ways to protect against them.
Where Does It Happen?
The vast majority of tip-over incidents occur in residential settings, with the breakdown of rooms as follows:
• 45% in the bedroom – Home to dressers and bureaus, the bedroom is full of heavy and potentially dangerous furniture and televisions.
• 22% in the living room – Televisions were involved in 70% of child tip-over fatalities, so it’s no wonder that living rooms are a hot spot for these types of accidents.
• 4% in the kitchen – With large appliances like fridges and ovens, the kitchen can prove to be dangerous if these heavy pieces of equipment aren’t secured.
• The remaining 29% of locations were unknown or unreported.
Who Does It Happen To?
Most tip-over deaths (84%) involved children under the age of 10, with the breakdown of ages as follows:
• 8% are under the age of 1.
• 27% are from 1-2 years old.
• 23% are from 2-3 years old.
• 31% are from 3-5 years old.
• 11% are from 5-9 years old.
Why Does It Happen?
Anyone who’s seen a child play knows how rambunctious they can get, and it’s that same energy that can bring down a piece of large furniture or TV. According to the CPSC, 36% of incidents occurred due to a child climbing onto the furniture or appliance, causing it to fall. 14% of incidents were due to hitting, kicking, or pulling, and 7% occurred when the child was playing nearby.
Interestingly, 42% of incidents had an unknown cause. This 42% indicates that much of the time, tip-over incidents may happen when a parent is not in the room or not paying attention, leading one to believe that the best way to prevent most accidents is simply by keeping a close eye on the kids. Now, every parent knows that you can’t watch them every moment of the day, so here are some tips to help keep them safe even if they manage to escape your gaze:
• Install anti-tip brackets to secure furniture and appliances and keep them from falling.
• Put safety covers over doorknobs to keep kids out of danger zones
• Choose baby gates installed with hardware rather than tension-reliant versions for a more secure barrier.
• Make kids less likely to climb by making sure their toys and other objects are within reach.
• Secure televisions into their mounts and push them up against the wall if possible for more stability.
Even the most vigilant parent can’t keep their eyes on their kids 24/7, but following these steps and teaching them safe play habits can help you create a safer environment for your child and reduce the possibility that they may fall victim to a tip-over accident.
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